Most workers in Illinois and nationwide qualify for workers’ compensation if they are hurt on the job. However, how is workers’ compensation handled when the injured employee is a professional athlete? Find out more about this complex subject below, then contact our Cook County workers’ comp attorneys at The Law Offices of Robert T. Edens if you need legal help with your workers’ comp claim.
The subject of workers’ comp for professional athletes came to a head recently when the Cincinnati Bengals ownership attempted to insert language into an Ohio legislative bill that would make Ohio professional athletes ineligible for workers’ comp.
A Cleveland TV station reported last month that the bill’s current language states that athletes under contract for professional sports teams cannot receive permanent partial disability. If the bill passes the Ohio legislature, existing players on Ohio professional teams who are still under contract five years after they are hurt cannot file for workers’ compensation.
The bill also states that professional athletes must cover their medical expenses at the amount it is billed. This is more than the lower rate that companies and insurance companies pay under the state’s current workers’ comp laws.
Currently, workers’ compensation expenses for professional football players are paid out of the player portion of the salary cap. The normal workers’ compensation filing allows them to receive medical care in the future after their playing days are over, and they are not being paid because of injury.
It is a common belief that most, if not all, professional athletes make millions in their careers, so workers’ comp should not apply to them. However, the NFLPA, the league’s player’s union, which opposes the bill, argues that many professional athletes in the state do not make millions of dollars in their careers. The bill, the NFLPA maintains, also would affect players with longer careers who could not file a workers’ comp claim for an injury that occurred previously if more than five years have passed since the incident.
The language in the bill also would affect professional players for other Ohio teams, news report continues, including the Cleveland Cavaliers, Cleveland Guardians, and Columbus Blue Jackets. Also, the bill would affect workers’ comp for minor league players, such as the Cleveland Charge, Cleveland Monsters, and Akron Rubber Ducks.
The NFL players’ union is fighting the professed bill’s language to ensure that athletes in Ohio are still eligible for workers’ compensation if they have injuries they suffered while playing. The NFLPA said it is particularly concerned about players receiving long-term medical care for joint replacement and concussion care.
If you were injured on the job in Illinois, you might be entitled to workers’ compensation, but handling the claim on your own could lead to less in benefits. Work with our Cook County workers’ comp attorneys at The Law Offices of Robert T. Edens at (847) 395-2200.